You found your club. You go every weekend and slay clays with the best of them. What do you do when the wife and kids want to go and participate in clay shooting? Or, perhaps you’re a single lady and want to get into the sport? Well, what are our options? Let’s find out!
I took the liberty to interview a lady friend of mine who loves to shoot clays. She had a bad experience her first time, going at it alone though. One day she decided, out of boredom, to check out her local shooting club. She did have previous shooting experience at your average shooting range, but had never shot clays before, nor had she ever used a shotgun. Now, she admits she didn’t ask for any direction (she is a little stubborn), and the guy behind the counter certainly didn’t offer any. That’s a big mistake. Don’t ever be too proud to ask for advice, especially with firearms.
Long story short, she told me she would have appreciated an overview of the various types of shotguns, tips on handling recoil (she bruised up pretty badly for a week using a 12 gauge), and general guidance on shooting clays. She stuck with it though, and remedied this by joining a clay shooting forum and hanging out more at her shooting club. She now uses a 20 gauge and says she is one of the better shooters at her club
She also now routinely brings new people into her circle of shooters and serves as a guide and teacher, based on her own rocky start. It was smart of her to move to a 20 gauge, as she has a really small frame, but this isn’t written in stone. I know a few women that are surgeons with a 12 gauge. Its all about trying a variety of styles and finding what you shoot best (not what someone tells you to shoot).
Well, what about the kids? Can you even bring them to a shooting club? The answer isn’t just yes, it’s HELL YES. Keep in mind though, shooting clubs are going to have age limitations, and the lowest I’ve seen is 10 years. The sooner you get kids shooting and learning about firearms, the sooner they’re going to grow to respect them and understand that they’re not toys. You can disagree with this, and that’s certainly your right to do so.
If your children are the type to sit around in their safe space, and fry their brains with Pokemon and video games, I think you’re going to have a lot trouble keeping them interested and focused enough to enjoy themselves. However, if your children are the outdoors type, with skinned knees, and you’re the sort of parent that doesn’t keep them in a bubble of safety and isolation, then I believe you’re going to have an awesome family outing.
Safety, obviously, should be your first concern. Before you even get them out to the shooting club, there should be many hours spent going over all of the basics of firearm safety and function. I would suggest quite a few trips be made to a standard shooting range while they get used to the recoil of a shotgun. It might even benefit you to enroll in the National Shooting Sports Foundation (nssf.org link please) or even Project ChildSafe http://www.projectchildsafe.org/.
Your options here are limitless. You have the 4H Club, Boy scouts, NRA, and many, many others at your disposal. Don’t worry about not being a shooting guru, or trying to teach your children every single thing. There are tools and groups at your disposal, and there is no shame in using them. You’re setting your children up for success later in life by going this route. Not only through a respect for firearms, but also in a social and competitive setting. Once you get them out in the field, it’ll only be a matter of time before that competitive spark takes hold of them.
Get out there! Whether you’re a lady, a guy, or a whole family. You’re in for a great time, in a competitive, scenic setting. It’s a great opportunity for bonding and building a skill set that will serve you and your children for the rest of their lives.
Tell us about your clay shooting experiences! Do you have any great tips we didn’t cover? Have you gone out on your own to clay shoot, or taken the family out? As always, we love to hear from you. Happy shooting!